Strattera is an NRI or “norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor” meaning it prevents the reuptake of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. This drug has been found clinically effective for treating cases of ADHD. Many doctors prefer to prescribe this drug over a potent stimulant like Adderall simply because it doesn’t have any major addictive properties or potential for abuse. It also tends to have an easy discontinuation with most users reporting minimal Strattera withdrawal symptoms.
Although most people take this medication to treat their ADHD, some have found that it also may indirectly treat symptoms associated with depression. Some individuals that have tried this medication have discovered that it actually treated their depression quite well. Despite the fact that it works for some by increasing energy and improving focus, studies have not found any significant benefit for depression from Strattera.
Taking Strattera for Depression: Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor
Some have suggested that Strattera works well for off label uses of treating depression, anxiety, and panic disorder. Although it may work in some people, most studies demonstrate that it is not effective enough to get approved to treat these conditions. Most psychiatrists will only consider Strattera if you have ADHD and even if you have depression along with it, they may prescribe an SSRI medication. With that said, everyone has a different type of depression and no two people have the same brain chemistry.
Someone may end up trying this medication and it may work like a charm for boosting the person’s mood. Another individual may give Strattera a try and find that it actually makes them more depressed. This is the experimentation that must be done when it comes to treating symptoms of depression. Not all individuals have abnormally low “serotonin” which is targeted by SSRI’s. Some people may not have any problems with serotonin, but may have lower levels of norepinephrine – which is what this particular medication addresses.
It is thought that for the majority of the depressed population, only about 1 in 10 people respond to medications geared primarily towards targeting the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. This is a very low percentage of individuals, but if you are one of these people, this medication could prove to be a blessing. If you have been through the ringer of standard antidepressants such as SSRI’s and haven’t responded well – this may be a medication to consider.
Strattera for ADHD with Depression
Perhaps Strattera may be best in addressing ADHD with comorbid symptoms of depression. Many people with ADHD also have depression as a result of their condition. Both ADHD and depression are linked with a lower level of mental arousal. Since Strattera works to increase brain activity by inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine, it should be obvious that some individuals are going to experience relief from depression.
Psychiatrists will prescribe you this medication as long as you fit the diagnostic criteria for ADHD – as this is what the drug was approved to treat. It may really help with the low energy and lack of productivity associated with depression. Many people find this particular medication to have a stimulating effect – which addresses the low arousal that accompanies depression.
If you are going to try this drug to treat depression, you should understand that it may not work and/or may poop out. However for the individuals that it works for – it tends to work very well. It could even be considered as an antidepressant augmentation strategy. Unfortunately most doctors will be quicker to prescribe something like a mood stabilizer and/or antipsychotic before they would try to augment a safer medication like Strattera.
In theory an SNRI would likely have a similar effect as an SSRI and an NRI like Strattera, but different medications yield different results. You would need to find a pretty liberal psychiatrist to try this medication just for your depression and/or anxiety. This is due to the fact that a standalone NRI like Strattera has not been proven to provide antidepressant relief like other medications. If you requested a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, Nortriptyline would be a more studied and valid medication to try.
Have you tried Strattera with depression and/or anxiety?
If you have tried Strattera while you were suffering from depression, did it help? It would be beneficial to hear from people that have used this drug while they were depressed to understand what they felt. Certain individuals have reported that it made them more depressed and angry. Others have found that it made them more productive, focused, and really turned their life around for the better.
The nice thing about this particular medication is that it’s relatively safe and well tolerated compared to most SSRI’s and SNRI’s and isn’t associated with any major withdrawal symptoms. Further research needs to be conducted with this particular medication to determine whether it could be effective at reducing symptoms of depression.
- Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC427606/
- Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16113620/
- Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16259536/
- Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10703757